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Banks to charge S$0.75 to S$3 for use of Singdollar cheques from Nov 1

SINGAPORE: Are you still using cheques for your bills or other purchases? If so, you will have to start paying a fee from Nov 1.

The new fee ranges from S$0.75 to S$3 (US$0.55 to US$2.19) for each Singapore dollar-denominated cheque, according to the websites of seven banks as of Friday (Oct 20). These banks are DBS, UOB, OCBC, Citibank, HSBC, Maybank and Standard Chartered.

Fees will also be imposed on US dollar-denominated cheques, starting from US$0.55 to US$3.

But the banks will be waiving these charges for individual customers aged 60 and above until Dec 31, 2025.

DBS, for one, said it is doing so as “some customers may require more time to transition to digital payments”. Standard Chartered also noted that it will consider exceptions “for certain clients in exceptional circumstances” on a case-by-case basis.

Cheque issuance fees for individuals after Nov 1
Citibank S$3 per SGD chequeUS$3 per USD cheque
DBS S$0.75 per SGD chequeUS$1 per USD cheque
HSBC S$1 per SGD chequeFree for USD cheque
Maybank S$0.75 per SGD chequeUS$0.75 per USD cheque
OCBC S$0.75 per SGD chequeUS$0.55 per USD cheque
Standard Chartered S$3 per SGD chequeUS$3 per USD cheque
UOB S$0.75 per SGD chequeUS$0.55 per USD cheque

*Fees will be waived for customers aged 60 years old and above until Dec 31, 2025

The move for at least seven banks to start charging customers – both corporates and individuals – for issuing Singdollar-denominated cheques was first announced by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) in July.

Currently, some banks already have fees for the issuance of corporate cheques, but not for individuals.

The change comes amid rising cheque-processing costs as usage declines, said MAS and ABS.

The average cost of clearing a cheque has quadrupled since 2016 to S$0.40 in 2021. This is set to increase to between S$2 and S$6 by 2025, if cheque volumes fall by another 70 per cent.

MAS and ABS noted that most banks have been subsidising the cost of cheque processing but given the expected increase, they are no longer able to continue doing so.

As such, it will allow seven banks to make the first move with the new fees, while other banks will follow suit by next July.

Apart from cheque issuers, those who deposit cheques will also have to pay a fee down the road.

Most banks have yet to share details on deposit charges, except UOB, Maybank and DBS which said cheque deposits will remain free for at least six months after Nov 1 as “various government agencies and organisations progressively adopt alternative payment methods, such as PayNow”.

Customers will be informed should there be changes, the three banks said.

Related:

'Not sure where my cheque book is': Consumers, businesses unfazed as Singapore aims to go cheque-free

Cheques, passbooks and 1-cent coins: 5 ways money and banking transactions have changed in Singapore

Singapore has announced plans to do away with paper cheques, starting with corporate cheques by end-2025.

Individuals will still be able to use cheques “for a period” beyond 2025, MAS and ABS said in July without providing details.

MAS also said it will further study the use of cheques by individuals and develop “appropriate initiatives” to assist remaining users in their transition to alternative payment methods, such as PayNow, FAST and GIRO.

It will conduct a second public consultation next year to set out these initiatives and a timeline for the elimination of individual cheques and the termination of the Cheque Truncation System.

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